Wednesday 04 May 2022
The 50th edition of the Granfondo Matildica will be dedicated to Valentino Iotti, the historic president of Cooperatori, who died last April 22 at the age of 79, with the first memorial dedicated to him. A tribute strongly desired by the organizing company of the event, of which Iotti was a beacon, and of which the Granfondo has always been the flagship of its management, not coincidentally started in the 70s in parallel with the competitive cycle race.
Iotti would have done anything to be at the start in Piazza della Vittoria on 17 July. On the other hand, despite the disease that unfortunately had debilitated him in recent years, he had strongly desired that the 50th edition of the Granfondo Matildica host the UEC European Championships of granfondo and mediofondo, participating in meetings with both the leaders of the European Cycling Union and dealing with the Italian Cycling Federation, as if it had been the last missing piece of its fifty-year history.
Above all, Valentino had made the Granfondo a symbol of safety on the pedals. A campaign carried out with Cooperatori through the ’Pedala in sicurezza’ project, which in the last four years has involved over 4,000 children in schools in the Reggio Emilia area. And not least by forging a splendid collaboration with the Michele Scarponi Foundation, culminating in the inauguration of the Cavandola stele dedicated to the Filottrano’s champion, who was run over while training on his beloved bicycle. Scarponi died on 22 April 2017; Iotti on 22 April five years later, and who knows whether they might not have romantically found each other again.
During the inauguration of the stele, on 3 June 2018, in front of Scarponi’s family, Valentino Iotti presented a sign (pictured) to be displayed on the Granfondo route, where he called for the respect of the safety distance between cars and bikes. "We want to invite motorists to respect cyclists, and at the same time educate bike enthusiasts to respect the road, avoiding groups and proceeding in a line. In Italy we also need this education. That sign has since become a symbol of the battle to improve cyclists’ safety, and has been taken up at various events. This will continue on 17 July, cycling with a smile in his memory.
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